I’m at that point in life every kid dreams of and every teenager dreads- the point where decisions once a distant obstacle now have a deadline and choices suddenly seem much more permanent. It’s the time of college applications and career choices and class schedules that will definitely determine your entire future, or so it seems. It’s a time that’s both exciting in theory and terrifying in actuality, and causes major stress in teens across the country every year.
Maybe it’s because of this that I’ve been thinking a lot about the nature of decision-making. We as humans naturally crave control: we’re the top of the food chain in the primal, corporate, and social world. It’s only natural for us to enjoy having to make decisions, on some level. Although it can be the cause of great stress, we prefer it to the alternative- having our future determined for us. Although this largely relies on our personal and cultural history. For example, I’ve met some young women who will grow up into arranged marriages, and although choosing a life partner is considered one of the most important and exciting decisions we’ll ever make, they have accepted it as it’s all they’ve ever known.
But for the most of us, we like choices. We like thousands of instant movies to choose from on Netflix. We like elective classes more than we like others. We like picking everything from the color of our hair to the house we live in.
So why is picking a college so overwhelming?
Perhaps it’s because I like choices so much. It feels like one decision to rule them all, one that ties you down into one path you’ll be on for the rest of your life, whether it ends up being all it’s cracked up to be. While I know in reality that transfers and major-changings are perfectly okay (and even often expected), there’s still an overwhelming desire to pick the right place right off the bat.
But here’s the thing: where I go to college isn’t just my decision. It relies on me actually getting in to wherever I decide I want to go. And this is the part where my yoga brain starts talking.
We can pretend we have control all we want. We can pick out a movie to watch or customize our cell phone cases, but when it comes to life, nothing is guaranteed but the present. Tomorrow we could get into a serious car accident, or lose a loved one, or suddenly have to move to keep our job. Decisions are important and should be taken seriously, but at the end of the day, what’s going to happen is going to happen, whether we choose it or not. The universe always has a plan, and it doesn’t often ask you to revise it before publication.
In making stressful decisions easier, I’m learning to take solice in the fact that everything happens for a reason. I’ll get in to the college I’m meant to go to. I’ll end up in the career I’m meant to be in. I’ll live the life I’m meant to live.
So here’s my big decision: to accept the present moment for what it is, exactly as it is.